By: Sara Kovač / Nova24tv
Long-time mayor Zoran Janković, especially known for the many scandals that have been attached to him since he took the mayoral seat, was sworn in for a new four-year term at Monday’s inaugural meeting of the Ljubljana City Council. “We will sit together in this room and make decisions that are important for the development of the city. Each of us is responsible for the fact that Ljubljana will develop,” he announced, among other things, boasting about several projects, while a bunch of Ljubljana men and women do not even have their own doctor. He admitted that there are problems with the doctors, but as he says, they are supposedly working on it. Many people rightly ask, what has he been doing so far, because the problem is not from yesterday?! City councillor Aleš Primc is undoubtedly among those who are well aware of the magnitude of the problem of the lack of doctors, who wished that they could tackle the pressing issue at the very first meeting.
“Since I was not allowed to propose solutions to the biggest problems of the people of Ljubljana at the meeting today, my clothes spoke at the meeting,” said Ljubljana city councillor Aleš Primc after the first meeting of the MOL City Council in its new composition. He wore a more than eloquent T-shirt with the inscription: “People need a doctor”. We asked Primc for a comment on yesterday’s session. He told us that he was disappointed when he saw that it would not be possible to discuss problems in Ljubljana and find solutions to them at the first meeting. Namely, it is planned that this is a protocol meeting where mandates are confirmed. “No discussion is planned at all. I told myself, if I cannot talk, let my clothes do the talking. For this reason, I put on a T-shirt that said people need a doctor. This represents the biggest problem in Ljubljana,” said Primc.
When Primc was running for mayor, he emphasised that the health problems in Ljubljana should be solved. “I promised that I would start dealing with this right away, so I wanted to speak yesterday as well. Unfortunately, I could not. I will propose the immediate creation of a health committee within the MOL City Council. I already have the material ready,” he emphasised and announced that he would propose to Zoran Janković this week to convene a meeting on the topic of health conditions in Ljubljana as soon as possible.
When talking about the mayor of Ljubljana, it is impossible to ignore the pharmacist affair, and the Stožice stadium, which ended up with an enormous bank hole and the failed subcontractors of his sons’ failed companies, who in the meantime lived luxuriously. While he insists that there is no more successful project when it comes to price, one can see how the half-built skeleton of the commercial part of Stožice continues to collapse. The public part of the project, which is not quite finished, ended up costing 114 million, GREP ended up in bankruptcy due to debts of 100 million, while the banks lost 135 million euros. The subcontractors were even left without 30 million euros. Zoran Janković denies his guilt and blames it all on the banks, especially SID bank.
Two legal proceedings against Janković are still open
Considering his re-election, it seems that Janković is not moved by the numerous court cases against him. Let’s remember. The most high-profile was certainly the case of the pharmacist, in which Janković was suspected of arranging employment for a younger pharmacist from Ljubljana, and in exchange for that he demanded and received sexual favours from her. The district court excluded the documents and wiretaps that proved this from the proceedings due to the mistakes of the prosecutor Blanka Žgajnar. As the appeals were dismissed, the case fell. There are still two legal proceedings open: in the case of Stožice 1, where the trial of Janković and his co-defendants began in November last year (more than nine years after the house searches), who are accused of abusing the position of damaging European funds and deceiving banks in obtaining loans for construction of a sports centre. The prosecution accuses the mayor and five co-accused in the case of Stožice 2, that Energetika Ljubljana, after Jankovič’s intervention, bought premises for a refrigerating machine shop in Stožice for 3 million euros from GREP, even though the latter was not the owner at all, but only had the right to build. Companies connected to the Janković family found themselves involved in complex transactions, some of the money, according to the prosecutor’s office, supposedly flowed directly into the mayor’s account.
However, it is impossible to pass by the real crime that took place in connection with the construction of a new gas-steam unit in the Ljubljana heating plant. It is a project worth 118 million, with which they wanted to ensure that the majority of the city would no longer be heated with coal after 2022. Two bidders made it to the finals of the public tender for the selection of the supplier of the main technological equipment for the construction of a gas-steam unit in the Ljubljana heating plant: the Slovenian branch of the German multinational Siemens and the Greek company Mytilineos Holdings. In the end, the company Mytilineos Holdings was chosen, which was helped in acquiring the business by Serbian businessman Petar Komljenović, an important lobbyist since the days of Milošević. The whole thing works like a criminal case, because the criminal evidence in this case indicates that the Serbian businessman was withdrawing cash in Croatia and carrying it to Slovenia, while constantly communicating with the technical director of Energetika Ljubljana Marko Agrež and with the telephone number of the City of Ljubljana, which belongs to Zoran Janković. Due to the suspicion of abuse of position or trust in economic activity, criminal investigators of the National Investigation Office (NPU) conducted house searches at seven locations in June this year. They were investigating a contract worth 118 million euros by the public company Energetika Ljubljana from the Greek company Mytilineos Holdings. Five persons are suspected, according to unofficial information they include: Samo Lozej, director of Energetika Ljubljana, Marko Agrež, technical director, former first man of Termoelectrarna Trbovlje, Zdenka Grozde, director of Public holding Ljubljana, and Komljenović, a Serbian businessman who lobbied at business.
Janković plays on a social note and outwardly presents himself as a leftist, although in the past he did not care much for the tragedies of subcontractors and their families in the case of Stožice. As it seems, the affairs simply do not get to him, because despite all the baggage, he was elected mayor of Ljubljana. Janković has been holding the mayoral seat in the capital since 2006, but this time Zoran Janković’s List will not enjoy a majority in the 45-member council by itself. Namely, the list won 18 mandates. Already when he was elected in the first round of local elections, Janković announced that he would work in a coalition with Golob’s Gibanje Svoboda party, which has eight councillors, and the SD party, which has two councillors. The largest opposition party won six mandates, the Levica party four, the NSi party two mandates, and the Slovenian People’s Party, Voice for Children and Families, List for Sports for health, Vesna – green party, and the Pirate Party of Slovenia won one mandate each.
On Monday, the mayor announced in front of the city councillors that a lot of challenges await them, and as he said, he also counts on cooperation with the current government. Of course, this is not surprising, since he was present at the founding of Robert Golob’s Gibanje Svoboda party. Does Ljubljana really want such a compromised person? Many people wonder if he will be elected until he is actually convicted, or if the court so decides, he may even be deprived of his freedom? “If the judiciary started to do its job and if the media were neutral, Janković would of course be out of the game,” commented professor and analyst Dr Boštjan M. Turk, for whom Janković’s election was undoubtedly not a surprise.
Given that health is everyone’s highest value, we can wonder when people will come first, rather than the beautification of the city centre. The fact that many do not have a personal doctor in 2022 is downright shameful.